Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/24/18

12:00
Meg Rowley: Hello! Good morning/afternoon, and welcome to the chat.

12:00
Tommy N.: First time in your chat, do you follow MiLB stuff? If so do you have thoughts on Eric Lauer.

12:01
Meg Rowley: I follow some especially at the higher levels, but not as diligently or with as keen an eye as Eric or Kiley, and don’t have specific thoughts on Lauer. But I bet Eric and Kiley do. They’re smart about these things.

12:01
le fan: Did you watch buehler’s debut or did you take the night off?

12:03
Meg Rowley: I watched some but not all of it. Command was spotty at times, but he was probably pretty amped. I like that fastball (very original thought). I’m looking forward to seeing how the curve plays. I think he’ll be good, with the usual caveat that he’s a pitcher, and loving them is always risky because we ask them to do an insane thing.

12:04
CamdenWarehouse: As a Mariners fan, is there any advice you can give Orioles fans about following a team for whose front office you have lost all faith?

12:04
Meg Rowley: Invest your feelings in individual players. Some people root for laundry and if that works great, but having a couple guys whose game you really like will get you through a lot.

12:05
Meg Rowley: For instance, Zunino and Haniger home runs sure are fun, even when your favorite team gets blown out by literally the White Sox.

12:05
Rain Dance: Meg, lots of talk about temperature affecting batters like EE, and lots of talk about pitchers hating the cold because it messes up their ability to feel the ball. Who does cold temperature really affect more on a net basis? That info has tremendous value.

12:07
Meg Rowley: My instinct is to say pitchers because extremes in temp also messes with how breaking pitches break, but I also suspect that it probably evens out mostly. Seems like extremes in temp the other way would sway things more.

12:07
Meg Rowley: And of course, there is the omnipresent issue of the ball, and which version of it they have at any given time.

12:07
Brian: Meg! I share your enthusiasm for women and girls playing baseball (I think it is cool and good and will lead to more overall baseball). Given that the season coincides with fastpitch, do you worry that steering young athletes towards baseball and away from fastpitch will lead to the end of what has been an important woman’s sport, or do you see the two existing side by side in the future?

12:07
Meg Rowley: I don’t worry about it too much.

12:07
Meg Rowley: I think it is important to sort out what problem you’re solving for.

12:08
Meg Rowley: Most young kids, regardless of gender, play sports to be healthy, learn cool lessons about teamwork and discipline, and make buddies.

12:08
Meg Rowley: I think (and clearly you do to) that little girls should get to do that playing baseball or softball, which is a great sport!

12:09
Meg Rowley: If the issue you’re trying to solve for is, we’d like to see a woman in the majors, then having access to baseball is really important because all the girls with the best bat to ball and pitching skill are going to softball.

12:10
Meg Rowley: But also remember that softball has an important tool in its arsenal: college scholarships

12:10
benj: whose return to earth will be more violent: mets, d-backs, or boston?

12:11
Meg Rowley: I do worry about the Diamondbacks starter depth with Walker out, so maybe them slightly, but we might be getting to the point in the calendar when we look around and think, huh, those are just good teams. They’re good teams!

12:12
Meg Rowley: The Red Sox won’t sustain this pace probably, but they’re a good team!

12:12
James: Mitch Haniger looks awesome. If (and, let’s be honest, when) the Mariners realize they can’t compete in 2018 and finally need to tear things down, where do you think he might end up in this year’s trade value series? Curious what he could fetch.

12:12
Meg Rowley: Several Mitch questions today. Everyone is coming around to ol’ Mitch.

12:14
Meg Rowley: I think a reasonable amount. He’s a little older than you’d think, but he’s not even arb eligible until 2020, and if he can stay healthy, he’s a very good hitter who can play center if needed. And with that said, I’d be surprised if they move him, actually.

12:14
Zock Jr.: So this Mitch Haniger guy. He won’t keep rocking this Stanton-esque 29.6% HR/FB. But other than that, I’m not seeing an elevated BABIP or anything. Is he just… amazing now?

12:15
Meg Rowley: When the Walker-Segura deal happened, a lot was made here at FanGraphs of the inclusion of Haniger, and it was because of the swing change.

12:16
Meg Rowley: He’s put up good April’s before. He put up a good April last year! And then he got hurt. I think we’ve seen enough to believe that the changes he made have stuck and are effective. Now he needs to stay healthy.

12:16
Conner: Is there any way to give this Rockies front office a pass? That offense is atrocious outside of Blackmon, Arenado, Lemahieu and an occasional Story HR. Desmond was such a weird and increasingly awful signing. The pitching has been terrible outside of Bettis and Ottavino. I get that they really have to rely on homegrown SP. But spending all that money on the bullpen for a bunch of relievers who are not the top 1% of relievers seems like such an awful investment for a team that plays half of it’s games 5280 ft. above sea level, especially given the volatile nature of bullpens. They could have made real improvements at 1B/OF for relatively cheap this past offseason

12:16
Meg Rowley: What a weird, weird organization.

12:17
Meg Rowley: I am sympathetic to the challenge they face, but yeah, I wasn’t crazy about any of the big moves they made this offseason.

12:18
Meg Rowley: They have a team wRC+ of 76! In Colorado! Why?

12:18
Badgerville : Favorite name for a stadium level? (Loge, terrace, mezzanine, view, etc.)

12:19
Meg Rowley: Mezzanine for how the word sounds. The view seats at Safeco on the first base side are sneakily some of the best around because you get a literal view of Seattle, and can visualize the whole field.

12:20
David: Good afternoon

12:20
Meg Rowley: It’s still morning here.

12:21
Bryce Harpers Hair Piece: I havent seen as much talk about Joey Gallo so far this year,but im trying to be optimistic about his future,so where do you think his ceiling could be?

12:21
Meg Rowley: Gallo is interesting to me for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being that his career is perfectly timed in baseball history, as his particular skill set probably doesn’t play at any other time.

12:23
Meg Rowley: I suspect his ceiling, if everything goes right, is maybe a win or two better than last year? He’s more versatile in the field than I gave him credit for, and a weirdly good base runner, and he can hit the ball to the moon.

12:24
Meg Rowley: Selfishly, I’d like him to have one game where he tries to bunt against these crazy shifts every at bat, if only to write about it, or read Jeff writing about it.

12:24
Lunar verLander: How is it possible that we’ve STILL underestimated Mike Trout?

12:25
Meg Rowley: Humans are, as a group, sometimes not very bright.

12:25
Meg Rowley: On the plus side, we’ve corrected our mistake pretty quickly!

12:25
noobcon: What do you think of this 3v2 trade?: Morton, Manaea, L. Castillo  for  DeGrome/Pivetta ? which side wins

12:26
Meg Rowley: I would encourage you to ask an actual fantasy expert and as luck would have it, one is chatting right. stinking. now. over at RotoGraphs!

12:26
v2micca: I’ve heard a lot about it, but I haven’t been able to track down audio of Jenny Cavnar’s play by play broadcast of the Rockies game.  Were you able to listen and how was she?

12:27
Meg Rowley: I was not, sadly. Twitter seemed to enjoy it, and I have heard nothing but good things about Jenny prior to now.

12:27
Tat: What is the worst destination for a free agent?

12:28
Meg Rowley: The place he goes as a last resort. It sucks to feel unwanted.

12:29
Sharp: Nationals seem to be fumbling the use of the DL pretty badly right now…aggressive use worked for the Dodgers, shouldn’t more teams be doing it like that?

12:29
Meg Rowley: The Dodgers had the benefit of crazy, crazy depth.

12:30
Meg Rowley: That isn’t easy to replicate.

12:30
coolhand Luke : How bout that A’s lineup?  realistic shot at WC2?

12:31
Meg Rowley: How about that A’s lineup!?

12:31
Meg Rowley: The A’s are tied with the Yankees in team wRC+.

12:31
Meg Rowley: What a time to be alive, this time we’re alive in.

12:32
Meg Rowley: I actually liked the lineup (not this much) before the season and thought it would come down to pitching. I think it still will, but that lineup gives a little buffer. It’s a crowded field, though, and I don’t think they’re the most like WC2 in their own division, so…

12:33
Slurve: should surprisingly-decent-start mediocre teams (Mariners/Pirates) look at teams like the Reds and Royals to make a move early to add?  How early do we see teams strike generally?

12:34
Meg Rowley: Seems way too early for especially the Mariners to think about that, as they’re a bad spell away from having to ask hard questions of their own future, and what do they have to trade that they don’t need?

12:34
Morbo: I traded Chris Sale straight up for Corey Kluber in my roto league. Good decision or great decision? Does this mean Carson will be my friend now?

12:34
Meg Rowley: You should go ask him on twitter right now, but in my experience, Carson is an amiable sort who saves his grudges for more serious slights.

12:35
Post Malone: 41 homers and a 123 wRC+ doesn’t play at any other time in baseball history? Um, I don’t think so sweetie.

12:36
Meg Rowley: I meant running a career K% close to 40%, which he has managed to trim to within acceptable parameters given the home runs and other contact.

12:36
stever20: how worried should I be as a Nats fan right now?  10-13 and already 5.5 behind the Mets.

12:37
Meg Rowley: A little worried. Hold on one moment while I look something up.

12:38
Meg Rowley: Jeff wrote about this last week but I wanted to look up the latest. The Mets have improved their odds of winning the division 16% since Opening Day.

12:39
Meg Rowley: It’s the largest move in the NL, looks like, and is second only to the Red Sox.

12:39
Meg Rowley: Now, we still project the Nats to win the division. But they’re already trimming some margin.

12:40
A cat: Will the uncertainty of free agency as experienced during this offseason cause more 30+ FAs to not exercise their opt outs?

12:41
Meg Rowley: This is one of the things I’ll be most curious to watch this year. I think there will be a general reluctance, but as always, it depends so much on the individual guy.

12:42
Meg Rowley: I suspect that guys who see themselves in the elite tier will operate as usual but we might see fewer guys who are willing to test the market without that certainty.

12:42
stever20: How do you think the Matt Harvey/bullpen situation will go for the Mets?  Is it a ticking time bomb, or does it have a chance to work in your opinion?

12:43
Meg Rowley: I think it has a much better shot to work than any of their other Harvey options, which sounds like I’m being snarky, but I swear I’m not.

12:44
Meg Rowley: He might be surly about it (an understandable reaction to embarrassment) but on some level he had to know it wasn’t working. This gives him a chance to contribute.

12:44
Laz : Obviously a lot of this will unfold over the upcoming years but is there anything to glean from Lorena Martin’s time with the Mariners yet?

12:47
Meg Rowley: Not just yet. These sorts of changes are philosophical as much as anything else. I have heard that conditioning at the MLB level is more coordinated now. Ryan Divish has a piece on why so many more of the M’s players are wearing c-flaps that I haven’t read yet, but I wonder if that is her doing.

12:47
Meg Rowley: I worry that fans don’t understand Dr. Martin’s role that well, and so she is shouldering some blame for freaky early season injuries that isn’t fair.

12:47
Davy: Can we start a petition to send Mike Trout to Driveline this offseason so he has a plus arm in addition to everything else? I just want to see the greatest Mike Trout that Mike Trout can Mike Trout.

12:48
Meg Rowley: You are seeing such a good Mike Trout! A great Mike Trout! A great baseball player! Maybe, the greatest baseball player.

12:48
Meg Rowley: Why monkey with an already basically perfect thing?

12:49
Yo-Yo: Have you seen the article on BP about Pujols being two years older than he officially says? Would that be enough to void or renegotiate his contract?

12:50
Meg Rowley: This would be an interesting question for Sheryl, but in my “two of my moms are lawyers and I took the LSAT and did pretty well on it” expert legal opinion, I’d be surprised. As the article notes, this suspicion isn’t a new one.

12:50
Doug: Can Franchy succeed with the high K rate? He seems to destroy the ball when he makes contact.

12:50
Meg Rowley: Just pummels the ball. Good lord.

12:53
Meg Rowley: I think he can. I’m not sure of the best way to do this scientifically, but I’m really interested to see how the narrative on a guy like Cordero differs from high K% guys from a few years ago. Clearly, he’s crushing the ball and making enough contact otherwise that he isn’t carrying a markedly low average, but I wonder if we start being less collectively skeptical of guys like him given the way the game is going.

12:54
Jeremy: Is the Mitch Haniger that we are seeing going to continue?  He looked like he was on his way to a huge season before his injury last year, but it looks like he could be on his way to stardom if he stays healthy this year

12:55
Meg Rowley: He probably won’t sustain quite this level of production, but I think he’s a good, possibly very good player if he stays healthy.

12:55
Meg Rowley: Yes, I took another Haniger question. He’s good, ok? It’s fun!

12:56
Bo: With Tyler Flowers, Ronald Acuna and Mike Soroka all on the horizon, will the Braves get better enough as the season progresses to push for WC2?

12:58
Meg Rowley: Ehhhh maybe. I am still skeptical that the pitching is enough. I guess they aren’t so far off of the Phillies in terms of their projected record, but are importantly far off, if that makes sense. And remember, there are a lot of good NL teams. They’d have to hop over teams like the D-backs (or Dodgers) and Mets (or Nationals)

12:59
Bo: Do you own any baseball jerseys? If so, of whom?

12:59
Meg Rowley: I do. I have… oh god.

1:01
Meg Rowley: I have two Kyle Seager jerseys. One Mariners Sunday Alt. One Griffey throwback jersey. One Ichiro jersey that I now have to wear unbuttoned over a tank top because I am no longer 13. One Mike Zunino jersey I paid American dollars to have customized in 2014. One Navy road jersey that says Seattle instead of Mariners.

1:02
Meg Rowley: I am a grown up, and I make grown up choices.

1:02
Jeremy Morehead: Any reason to be concerned about the Cubs rotation?  Essentially 4 All-Star caliber starters, who sure aren’t pitching like it early on.  So many rain-outs guys can’t get in a rhythm?

1:04
Meg Rowley: It isn’t great. I wouldn’t be WORRIED, all caps (you know how you think worried thoughts in all caps) necessarily, but I’d be worried. It hasn’t been great and the peripherals aren’t inspiring either.

1:04
Meg Rowley: It is delightful to me that the oldest one of the bunch has been the best so far. Ol’ Jon Lester, that so-and-so.

1:05
Alex: Meg, is Javy Baez your favorite player to watch?  If not, why are you so wrong?

1:07
Meg Rowley: He is an exciting player to watch, but not my favorite. I am excited for him that the approach seems to feature greater discipline, while still thumping. That’s pretty neat.

1:07
ohioastrosfan: Does Jacob Junis continue to pitch well? Solid start.

1:08
Meg Rowley: that breaking ball looks super unfun for hitters

1:08
Brian CashGod: Speaking of jerseys, what are your thoughts on Under Armour potentially adding their logo to the front of the MLB jerseys when they take over the contract in 2020? I think bleh, and it seems most fans feel the same way

1:09
Meg Rowley: I don’t love it, though I think you’ll notice it less than you expect. Nike’s logo is on NFL uniforms, and I hardly notice.

1:10
AC: No Edgar jersey?!

1:10
Meg Rowley: I have the giveaway from his number retirement weekend, but I’m not buying a new Edgar jersey and haven’t found an old one that doesn’t fit like a dress on me.

1:11
Brian: Maybe you hardly notice because you hardly watch the NFL (as you should)

1:11
Meg Rowley: [extreme I’m about to disappoint you voice] I’m a Seahawks season ticket holder. I don’t like it, if it makes you feel better.

1:12
Meg Rowley: Alright pals, I have to head off a little early so I can go to a dentist appointment.

1:12
Meg Rowley: Believe me when I say, I’d rather chat!

1:12
Meg Rowley: Sorry for what I didn’t get to, and see you all next week!

We hoped you liked reading Meg Rowley FanGraphs Chat – 4/24/18 by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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WalterBishop
Member
Member
WalterBishop

I’m starting to wonder if this “Mike Trout is still underrated” shit is some kind of joke. There is an articlesa week on him here, every night he is featured on the MLB network. What else do you people want?

Mike
Member
Member
Mike

Nothing you said was incorrect, but incredibly he’s still managed to be underrated. That’s how good Trout is.